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U.S. citizen abducted in Pakistan asks Obama to meet Qaeda demands

By the CNN Wire Staff
May 7, 2012 -- Updated 0624 GMT (1424 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Warren Weinstein was abducted in Pakistan in August
  • Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility and set out conditions for his release
  • In a video released Sunday, he asks Obama to meet the demands
  • "My life is in your hands, Mr. President," he says

(CNN) -- A 70-year-old U.S. citizen kidnapped in Pakistan last year has made an emotional plea to President Barack Obama to meet al Qaeda's demands in order to save his life, according to a video released on several Islamist websites Sunday.

"My life is in your hands, Mr. President," Warren Weinstein said in the video. "If you accept the demands, I live. If you don't accept the demands, then I die."

Weinstein, a development consultant, was abducted in August from his home in the city of Lahore. In December, al Qaeda claimed responsibility for his capture.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of the terror network, listed eight demands that he said, if met, would result in Weinstein's release. The demands related to issues in the Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia.

"It is important that you accept these demands and act quickly and don't delay," Weinstein said in the video posted Sunday. He made references to Obama's daughters and to his own children.

Weinstein said in the video, which was less than three minutes long, that he wanted to let his wife know that he was "fine and well."

Al Qaeda's demands include the lifting of the blockade on movement of people and trade between Egypt and Gaza; an end to bombing by the United States and its allies in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and Gaza; the release of anyone arrested on charges of belonging to al Qaeda and the Taliban; the release of all prisoners in Guantanamo and American secret prisons and the closure of Guantanamo and the other prisons; the release of terrorists convicted in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center; and the release of relatives of Osama bin Laden, the founder of al Qaeda who was killed in May in Pakistan.

In August, Weinstein's kidnappers managed to overcome the three security guards tasked with protecting him.

As the guards prepared for the meal before the Ramadan fast, three men knocked at the front gate and offered food for the meal -- a traditional practice among Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan, according to the Lahore police.

Once the gate was opened, the three men forced their way in, while five others entered the house from the back, tied up the guards and duct-taped their mouths, according to the police.

They pistol-whipped the driver and forced him to take them to Weinstein's room, where they hit Weinstein on the head with a pistol and forced him out of the house and into a waiting car, the police said.

A police official said in August that three suspects had been arrested in Weinstein's kidnapping.

Weinstein was working for J.E. Austin Associates Inc., a consulting firm based in Arlington, Virginia.

CNN's Saad Abedine contributed to this report.

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